Sometimes I feel I’ve got to
Run away, I’ve got to
Get away from the pain you drive into the heart of me
The love we share
Seems to go nowhere
And I’ve lost my light
For I toss and turn, I can’t sleep at night
– – Tainted Love by Soft Cell
Abuse of any kind leaves behind scars that are difficult to fully heal. Even when you have left it far behind part of it will always be with you. Deeply embedded inside you. Anger, fear, sadness, confusion if left hidden will easily turn into bitterness, anxiety and depression.
I know because it happened to me.
Childhood abuse is even more dangerous because (in my opinion) has a tangled ironclad grip on a person’s soul. I mean think about it. What does a child know about life? About relationships? About love? Or danger?
There is a reason we “childproof” our home when infants begin to move around on their own. Open electrical outlets, stairs and pointed edges of furniture (while at times necessary and useful) can instantly become a child’s worst nightmare.
So it’s tragic for children to learn about love and experience abuse at the same time. It blurs lines and creates confusion. You learn to believe lies.
It is my responsibility to hold secrets.
Unsolicited, hush hush attention from adult relatives must mean they love me.
The grimy, dirty, dark feelings that I am left with is my fault.
Countless slaps, groping, insults and inappropriate kisses shaped my self worth.
Stuffing my pain deep down inside me will make it all go away.
I truly wish it all could completely fade away, but it just isn’t possible. That doesn’t mean you will forever be picking up shattered pieces of what remains.
If you don’t allow it.
It’s possible to one day look in the mirror and love who you see.
Developing healthy boundaries, the true meaning of forgiveness and how to identify safe relationships.
These are steps that allows (lasting) peace and opens the door to an enjoyable and fulfilled life.
Is it easy? No
I’ve wanted to give up many times along the way. The voices in my head scream for me to stop and run back to the cocoon that feels safe and familiar. As cozy as it seems does absolutely nothing to bring me to a cure.
I’m reminded how often I’ve told my children “usually the right thing to do is the hard thing to do.” So I had a choice to make – actively and intentionally fight against years of childhood abuse and neglect OR lick my wounds and hide.
I wish I could tell you that I initially chose to fight back.
But I didn’t.
After years of hiding from the world and most of all myself –
I decided to pick up my shield and sword – and entered the battle.
The pain I endure now is by choice – a way to get me what I desire most. Wholeness and freedom.
For most of my life it felt as if the years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse devoured me. I understand all too well the fear and panic that accompanies drowning and choking. When your life is suddenly threatened something instantaneous happens. No time needed to figure out what to do next. Survival mode automatically takes over and you try everything to be able to breathe again.
Merely existing after struggling for so long wasn’t enough for me. I needed to stare abuse directly in the eyes and let it know it didn’t win. Although my past detoured me way off course – I was finally able to find my way back. I’m happy to say I’m headed towards the person I was always meant to be.
I also realized the years of affliction and oppression in the end only made me wiser, stronger and taught me to persevere.
And for that I am grateful.